Cummings: Barr acting like 'defense counsel' for Trump rather than AG

Cummings: Barr acting like 'defense counsel' for Trump rather than AG
© Greg Nash

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMerrick Garland, denied Supreme Court spot, on court set to consider Trump subpoena appeal  Lawmakers celebrate 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote More Dems press Pelosi on impeachment proceedings: reports MORE (D-Md.) on Sunday accused Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Memo: Trump allies see impeachment push backfiring on Democrats Democrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller MORE of acting as a "defense counsel" for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE rather than as U.S. attorney general.

“Mr. Barr is acting as the defense counsel for the president of the United States, when really, he's supposed to be our lawyer — the people's lawyer," Cummings said on CBS's "Face The Nation."

"I am appealing to Mr. Barr to please do the job you’re supposed to do … he bent over backwards to give this president the benefit of the doubt, he even expressed empathy with the fact that the president when he came was under pressure, well all presidents are under pressure,” he continued.

Cummings's remarks came after the Department of Justice on Thursday released a redacted version of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna: 'I'm not there yet' on impeachment MORE's long-anticipated report to the public.

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The report laid out the findings of Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. 

Barr, prior to the release of the redacted report, sent a letter to Congress detailing the Justice Department's top-level conclusions of Mueller's 22-month investigation.

In his four-page summary of the more than 400-page report, Barr wrote that the special counsel did not conclude there was coordination between Trump's campaign and Russia. Barr also stated in his letter that the special counsel's team did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice, adding that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDemocrats talk subpoena for Mueller Klobuchar: 'Don't think' there are reasons to investigate Mueller probe's origins Democrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook MORE decided not to pursue obstruction charges.

Barr was widely panned by congressional Democrats for giving a press conference before the report's public release on Thursday.

A group of House Democrats, including Cummings, had called for Barr to cancel the "inappropriate" conference, slamming it as a way to spin the findings of Mueller's investigation before the public had seen the full report.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Thursday accused Barr of acting as a "counselor for the president," following Barr's press conference and the report's release.

"The attorney general seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions," he said.

Senator 2020 presidential candidate Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (D-Calif.) similarly said Barr was "more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation’s Attorney General," citing Barr's press conference prior to the report's being made public.